When your marketer won’t discuss return on investment

Is the ROI question a bridge too far for your dental marketing agency?

If you’ve read other articles in our blog, you’ll be aware that one of our biggest irritations regarding the dental marketing industry, is the lack of accountability demonstrated by too many companies when it comes to proving the worth of their work.

Frankly this is rife and varies from companies who charge money for nothing, to those who try demonstrate success on the back of useless metrics which actually aren’t adding any value.

Why does this happen?

Frankly, if you are so inclined, it’s quite easy to confuse and obfuscate when it comes to marketing results, simply because there are lots of variables and ways to hide the important data. Ultimately marketers are dealing with dentists who are undoubtedly smart, but may not be so well-versed in marketing skills or perhaps even the key drivers for new patient acquisition. This is particularly so for those who are new to business and just starting out.

Unfortunately too many marketing agencies know and exploit this and sadly it’s rife in the dental industry.

What to look out for

When discussing any marketing contract, you must have ROI – return on investment – as a priority item and be sure that the agency provides regular updates to demonstrate this. This should be in clear and concise terms, fully transparent and linked to key measures of success. If your agency is trying to bamboozle you with lots of data which is meaningless to you, then likely it is only for obfuscation purposes and to distract you from the data which really matters. Some tricks you might see include the following:

  • promoting and reporting useless keywords
  • detailing advert impressions rather than user actions
  • simply reporting overall traffic to a website rather than traffic by channel
  • failure to report “conversions” i.e. number of actual contacts

There are lots of others which we’ve encountered over the years, but ultimately the data which really matters is related to website traffic (differentiated by sources) and the number of real enquiries which resulted from it.

What you should expect in monthly reporting

As a minimum, your marketer should be reporting the following each month:

  • traffic to your website and the channel it came from (organic, paid, direct etc)
  • traffic comparisons to previous months (trends)
  • most popular landing pages
  • bounce rates for key pages
  • conversions (real contacts) and conversion rates within each traffic channel
  • keyword statistics (ideally as recorded in Google’s own “Search Console”)
  • key metrics for pay-per-click campaigns e.g. impressions, clicks, click-cost, click-through-rate etc
  • a summary of what occurred in the month and strategy for the month ahead

Also make sure you have access to the raw data sources in Google Analytics, Search Console and Google Ads (where appropriate) and preferably set up in your own accounts.

What we struggle to report

Even bona fide marketers will struggle to report on the following, simply because it’s outside of their jurisdiction or the client does not have the budget or expertise to implement the necessary data collection systems. However, this should be discussed, so at least the implications are understood. An action plan can then be developed to plug any gaps.

  • telephone calls (however this is possible with additional call-tracking software)
  • “in-practice” conversions i.e. how many enquiries actually resulted in treatment

For the latter you will need to implement local systems to monitor these important metrics and the revenue/profit delivered. Where appropriate, this can be shared with your marketing team so that the true return on marketing investment can be calculated.


It is possible to demonstrate return on investment for dental marketing activities but it does take time to set up the systems to do this and then to interpret and report the results. Unfortunately many marketing teams shy away from this, sometimes deliberately to cover under-performance and sometimes because they don’t wish to take the time to do it properly. This results in spurious and deliberately confusing data being delivered to their clients who end up being left in the dark or lulled into a fall sense of success.

If this sounds like your own experience and you need to change, please consider calling the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548 to see how we can help.